Every industry has their own set of jargon - a language they use and (almost exclusively) understand. From an outsider's perspective, the world of software development can seem totally foreign. Where they talk about API, CMS and the ever-elusive back end. If you're an entrepreneur or small business owner, here are a few things you should know about what it's like to work with software developers...
5 tricks to understanding software developers
They need you to know what you want
One of the common things that happens when entrepreneurs and developers start working together is that there aren't clear requirements from the start. From the outset, you need to communicate your expectations so that you don't get half way through a project before misinterpretations are picked up. Obviously, there's always room to tweak, but something as simple as adding a button can be time consuming. Have a good idea of what the final product should look like, and which features it should include, from the beginning.
Communication is critical
Once everyone understands exactly what's expected, you can get started. But the communication doesn't end there. A development project has various phases, and both parties need to be involved every step of the way. If the developers need more data, you need to supply them with the right information. If there's an update or feedback session, be actively involved. Fortunately, most development teams are open and honest about any hiccups. And your response to this kind of feedback is crucial. Listen when developers outline time frames and fees, and they'll certainly listen to your requirements. Communication always goes both ways.
If you don't understand something, ask
Sometimes, coders and developers can get carried away with a project. And start talking at a mile a minute about things you might not understand. Don't put a damper on the enthusiasm, but make sure you know what's going on - it is, after all, your project. If someone mentions plugins, sliders or a wonderful UX, you should never be afraid to ask for clarification. There's no such thing as a stupid question when it comes to software development.
Know the difference between waterfall and agile development
This can make a big difference to your timeline and the way your project is managed. Waterfall development projects are completed sequentially, one step at a time, and are created to very specific features. It takes a bit longer, but the finished product should be perfect. With agile development, projects are worked on iteratively in a cycle and features are created faster. However, agile development requires time at the end to work out defects or bugs. Both styles are effective, so just make sure you know which option your development team prefers.
Costs are carefully calculated
From the very beginning, a development team should be able to give you a breakdown of their quote and what costs you might incur. And, as with everything, you get what you pay for. The more complex your requirements, the longer the project could take, and the higher the fee could be. And, experienced, professional developers know how much their time is worth. Don't be afraid to do a bit of digging before you settle on a development partner. Because you also need to get your money's worth.
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